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Mammals Gastropods Reptiles Arachnids Aquatic Insects

  Are any venomous snakes found in Kashmir?

  Most snakes found in Kashmir are members of the non-venomous Colubridae family that includes well over half of all snake species on earth. However the Levantine Viper and the rarer Himalayan Pit Viper are fatally venomous snakes found in Kashmir.

 

The Levantine Viper [Macrovipera lebetina] , or 'Gunas' as it is locally known, is a venomous viper species found in Kashmir, the Middle East, and the Levant* as far North Africa. The populations found in southern Afghanistan, Pakistan and Kashmir are sometimes referred to as a separate subspecies: Macrovipera lebetina peilei.

The Levantine Viper or Mountain Adder is is fatally venomous. It is a large blunt-nosed gray-brown snake found in dry and rocky mountainous areas between 1,000 and 2,500 meters elevation. The scale pattern consists of rosettes with light centers.

The Levantine Viper is usually inactive during daytime, but quite alert and apt to attack swiftly. In Kashmiri folklore it is reputed to have the ability, probably undeserved, of being able to strike by jumping at its victim.
*The countries bordering on the eastern Mediterranean Sea from Turkey to Egypt.

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Viperidae
Subfamily: Viperinae
Genus: Macrovipera
Species: M. lebetina
Binomial name:
Macrovipera lebetina


The Levantine Viper.


 

Scientific classification Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Crotalidae
Genus: Gloydius
Species: G. himalayanus
Binomial name:
Gloydius himalayanus

The Himalayan Pit Viper [Gloydius himalayanus] is a medium-sized gray-brown snake found in caverns and rocky crevices of forested hill sides, where it feeds on skinks and lizards. The Scale pattern consists of medial dark brown blotches, alternating with lateral rows of spots.

It occurs along the southern slopes of the Himalayas from Kashmir to Nepal as far as Sikkim between 1500-3000 m altitude.

The Himalayan Pit Viper is a habitually sluggish snake that basks in sunlight and hibernates in winter.

 

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Mammals Gastropods Reptiles Arachnids Aquatic Insects
All photographs ? Dr. Bakshi Jehangir 2005 and beyond. Powered by The Kashmir Network



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